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Sleuth
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Sleuth More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A rather sterile remake

7/10
Author: labradors
12 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Although some have commented that the original was "corny," this remake - although having great performances - lacks the charm and character of the original. In the original, one could see Tindle's being drawn in to Wyke's plan and his gradual acceptance of it. This one makes the jump from his being somewhat credulous to his full participation so relatively abruptly that it just doesn't "feel" genuine. In addition, this remake has replaced Wyke's games and toys with modern "toys" (sophisticated security cameras, automated walls and ladders, etc.) in a manner tantamount to whitewashing over the Sistine Chapel, and doesn't cause one to have as much feeling for Wyke or Tindle as the original did. Furthermore, the removal of Wyke's games removes the very notion that he would even refer to his actions as being part of a "game," as well as one of the excuses he may offer Tindle for participating. The ending left me far less satisfied than the original's, as well, but I won't reveal any of those details.

Is this worth seeing? Yes. Be prepared for a couple of outstanding performances, but also be prepared for something with far less charm (including far more obscenity) than the original.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Too reliant on the visuals to disguise the thin plot

Author: Gordon-11 from Earth
21 March 2008

This film is about two men playing psychological games with each other, in order to prove their superiority.

"Sleuth" is set in a very stylishly high tech manor, which has all sorts of mind boggling gadgets and a network of surveillance cameras. Surely enough, the interior of the house is very modern and stylish. However, it seems as if "Sleuth" is heavily reliant on the visual effects to disguise the fact that it has little else to offer.

In a two man film, a witty and engaging dialog is very important, but in "Sleuth" the magic fades after the jewellery theft game. The plot is unfortunately not engaging as it could have been. The ending game twist, where Andrew makes an offer to Milo, is so unconvincing that I doubt Milo would ever consider accepting it.

Though "Sleuth" is not a bad film, it certainly could have been more engaging and thrilling.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Did anyone else notice?

7/10
Author: drh-8 from Australia
12 October 2008

A thoroughly enjoyable movie. As usual, Michael Caine clearly demonstrates his worthiness of his knighthood (not to mention nomination - sadly unsuccessful - for this part for the leading actor Oscar).

However, much has already been written on IMDb about this excellent movie so I won't waste additional space by simply repeating it all again. My reason for this posting is to ask the question that is its title - Did anyone else notice... the mystic script in the flames?

Let me explain. Whilst watching the DVD, I was interrupted by a telephone call and so I paused the film. As it happened, this occurred just as Michael Caine was walking past the gas heater-cum-decoration in his hi-tech home. When I returned to restart the film, I was immediately amazed to see that the flames, when frozen in stop-motion, appeared to spell out words. Had I not paused the film, I doubt very much whether I would have ever noticed this phenomenon. The words "Animation" and either "sublimation" or "substitution" seem to appear and disappear as the film is advanced frame-by-frame. Other words come and go and, whilst discernible, don't appear to spell out a specific sentence or phrase. Since first noticing this, I have examined each frame and am now left wondering if this is nothing more than a freak of nature or was it purposely digitally placed there by Kenneth Branagh and, if so, why... OR... am I hallucinating???

The really weird thing is that, even though I have examined the film frame-by-frame, the message that I saw when returning from the phone hasn't been nearly as clear as it was then. This is spooky!

So, I return to my original question, has anyone else noticed this and, if they have, can they explain it or, at least, throw more light on it? Someone PLEASE comment.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

My Review

7/10
Author: joemamaohio from United States
3 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In a remake from the 1972 original, "Sleuth" stars two of cinema's geniuses...Michael Caine and Jude Law, as two men who are in love with the same woman.

Famous author Andrew (Caine) lives in a state-of-the-art house, and is married to Maggie, the woman in question. He invites Milo (Law) over, and the two discuss matters of life, love, and ultimately Maggie.

As the conversation escalates, and the games begin to play, the two find themselves in a struggle for sanity, and survival.

Some people don't like this film because it's too 'bland' or 'predictable,' but I found it anything but. Caine and Law light up the screen and their chemistry was extraordinary. And I also found it interesting that they have such civilized conversations even though Milo slept with Andrew's wife. I know for sure such conversations would NEVER go on in America (just watch an episode of "Jerry Springer" and you'll see my point).

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Obey the rules

8/10
Author: Magnolia Song from Hefei, China
8 May 2008

I have never seen other versions of Sleuth, so this is a quite new story to me, which enhances my experience of watching it. I like the movie, quite, for many reasons. Listening to the advice of other fans, I'm now looking for the 1972 film version. Based on the information I've found, the 2007 one, though is a remake, is different in many ways. Whatever, it's intriguing enough to attract me.

The title Sleuth makes it sound like a police-thief story or a detective kind, but it's not. Two men who are connected by one woman, her husband and her lover, met each other in the husband's extraordinarily beautiful and modern house. The husband, a very rich novelist, and the lover, a poor but extremely charming actor, were aggressive to each other since the first moment they met. Through many witty, elegant and exquisite talks, a game, a plan or a conspiracy started. The husband won the first match since it's he who thought of all this, but out of his surprise, he was treated as a complete fool in the second round. So, who will win at last? Well, if you wanna know, see it yourself.

The whole story happened in a forbidden house. We, as audience, see many scenes through the security camera, which enables us to have a clear idea of the tense competition between these two men. The game was so mysterious that I became involved myself; I wanted to know what happened next and what he meant to do. Again, like Funny Games, this is how the movie draws audience. Since there are only two actors and their roles are opposite, the conversation between them are very artistic and dramatic. Jude Law's amazingly beautiful accent makes it more enjoyable. And the house, full of high-technology equipments( I wonder if this kind of house really exists) and smart design, is a really suitable set for the story. The always shining blue light reflects the deep mind of the two men and makes the environment more charnel so we can be quiet and patient to see what they do. And the music, extraordinary!The use of violin and cello (two of my favorite music instruments)contributes much to the nervous atmosphere of this film. It's as if my nerves are jumping according to every rhythm.

Finally, I have to talk about the performance by these two talented actors. Michael Caine played Jude Law's role in the original one. Great an actor as he is, I believe that would be a wonderful performance either because in this film, he was fantastic. Sly, arrogant and cruel, Caine made the novelist so alive and true on the screen. He didn't have much expression, but every smile and look from the eye meant something vital. Jude Law, I don't quite think that he's a great actor because of that handsome face and sexy chin he's got, but the role of lover suits him perfectly. Although his performance seems too exaggerated to me, there is still surprise( when his role pretends to be a detective). Anyway, his face can be the only reason that I go to watch a movie.

Games are not always for children. Once adults make up the games, they are often dangerous and more fun. Obey the rules, so that you don't get kicked out.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

great ACTING; very artistic, yet disappointing for general public

6/10
Author: beregic (beregic@msn.com) from Canada
3 May 2008

mixed feeling about this one. it seems to me its concept is to promote( at least define for sure) homosexuality. it is a message well hidden that targets male subconscious and the whole thing gives a very negative imagine towards women. the feature uses brilliantly an EGO fight between 2 males and gives a general view about universal betrayal and especially jealousy and its consequences. being a straight male this has left me with a "yucks" feeling because it tries to convince me in "checking" out my own feeling on the topic. while male gays would probably like the message here, i can only feel contempt for a movie WELL DONE, but which tries to trick and create self-doubt about issues that are only for mature audiences.this is a feature that actually should have an 18+ rating not pg-13 and pg-14(in Canada). a film that needs to be understood or otherwise its style might confuse teenagers.

i recommend this for people caught in a "love triangle". just be aware that this whole superbly ARTISTIC feature will try to manipulate your feelings when you are "down". for some will be a strike of genius, but for others ,like myself, a fantasy well done with realistic elements. nothing more. the film starts with many clichés that strike home to anyone, only to evolve in something else unfortunately. this is something made for "the straight guy" if know what i mean...i appreciate its artistic feature and Excellent acting but please stay away from my instincts well defined before this movie came along.

Jude law is really good in here. for any female fans of him( likely others too) this is an absolute "must see".

without spoiling i must add something remarkable;( easy to notice if you look at main cast credits on this tile)the whole movie has ONLY 2 characters on screen literally.and all action happens within a house. yet is does not feel like a play or has a slow pace. the direction is excellent and the soundtrack well done to keep your attention alive. the dialogs are way too simplistic but they do have STYLE and an effective deliverance method. overall i rate it as an 8( can not 10 because some unrealistic clichés and "know where it goes" feeling) but, because message manipulations are important to me since they can have a social impact. lets just say that the if the advertisement would have stated or imply WHAT audiences it targets i would have given it a 9.however the way it is i am forced to take a couple of stars off.sorry.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

In the middle of nowhere

5/10
Author: gbx06 from Mexico
1 April 2008

I really like the films by Kenneth Branagh, well at least some of their Shakespeare's adaptations as Hamlet. From then on we can only mention a few examples of films whose results are always regular. And it is that while the work Branagh highlights in the script development and interaction between characters, their work when designing scenes, composition and development of the scenes is, not bad, but very lacking of emotions.

As for Sleuth must mention that I have not seen the original version therefore not count on the immediately referent so I have no predisposition to judge this "remake" based on previous work. But focus on the issue, if not this might seem to the script of this film.

So, "Sleuth" is something and nothing at once. What begins as a brain movie that is perfectly supported by ironic wordplay where both Michael Cane and Jude Law is to look perfect interpretations, a defining among many turns of the screw turns into a game of cat and mouse where overacting of Law and the ambiguity of the script (good at times; tired and simply in most cases) eventually tired and do predictable the end of the situation.

So Branagh achieves repeat their mistakes that all his films (though now exaggerates with the use of security cameras that really make bad the aesthetics of the film) and boasts of doing over and over again, but unfortunately their common problem in style is in depth of the script too and any film that contain these two types of errors is doomed to oblivion. Yes, like this movie.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Cracking remake, great acting!

8/10
Author: mentalmummy from United Kingdom
31 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Michael Caine is Wyke, an ageing clever and very rich crime writer whose wife is having an affair with Milo Tindell, a young almost effeminate younger man.

When Milo visits him to discuss his wife getting a divorce Wyke offers a very tempting deal allowing him to keep the woman and make a lot of money in the process. But unknown to Milo the placid mister Wyke is planning something to settle his wife's lover once and for all.

Or is he? That's the plot but the film is so much more. There's no big explosions, no million dollar special effects, no play it by the book script. Here you have two actors playing very well off each other and a story with plenty of twists that will keep you guessing right to the end.

Worth a watch, definitely, but not if your idea of a good film is judged by how big the body count is. A clever little script and two star performances round out an interesting little movie!

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

No diamonds in the safe

5/10
Author: richard_sleboe from Germany
31 December 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Over-scripted and over-acted, "Sleuth" feels like a theater crew took the wrong turn on their way to work and ended up on a movie studio's sound stage. I have to admit the first turning point had me on the edge of my seat, but it's downhill from there. Like in "Panic Room" or "Cube", the actors have a hard time living up to the towering presence of the gadget-ridden set, very much a protagonist of its own. But the character I'd really like to meet is the designer of Andrew Wyke's modernist mansion, his absent wife. Maybe that's the point, Godot style. I like how the camera is mounted to her approaching Ferrari in the final shot. Anyone remembering the 1972 original will also enjoy the casting ploy of promoting Michael Caine from adulterer to cuckold. But since Kenneth Branagh doesn't have anything much going for his remake but its old-school feel, "Sleuth" comes down to little more than gibberish and gadgets. Guest appearance by the movie's screenwriter, Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter, in a show Caine's character watches on TV.

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Solid version but perhaps too cold and rushed and is always in the shadow of the other, better, film version

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
11 September 2008

A young man (Milo) arrives at the country home of an older, more successful man, Andrew. The meeting is friendly if with a slight edge to it but very quickly Milo breaks things to a close by confirming that he is sleeping with Andrew's ex-wife and wants him to formally divorce her. Andrew has similar ideas in that he no longer wants his wife but has a rather more extreme proposition – that being that Milo "rob" him of a million pounds in jewellery, keep the money from a fence while Andrew claims it off the insurance. With both men trying to work the other out, the proposition remains on the table.

I will do my best to review this as a film in its own right and not get into comparing it to the original film version of this play but I'm pretty sure I will fail. What I will not be doing is discussing the play because, never having seen it I don't know if this is faithful to it or not. What this 2007 film appears to do though is be much more focused on the cruelty and darkness of the film rather than the attention to the "games" of the original film (huh, I lasted three sentences). To get it out in the open then, I much prefer the flair and energy of the original film but seeing this as its own beast, this darker approach also works as it allows for greater tension between the characters, where the two both seem to be in contest from the very start of the film. For the majority this works pretty well but I didn't think the ending was anyway near as good nor the twists delivered with anywhere near enough impact. By drawing out the darkness, Branagh and Pinter have put themselves in a spot where you need to deliver something sort of harder to make it work. They don't fail at this but they don't succeed either.

The two actors do well and I know this mainly because they managed to keep me thinking about them in terms of the original film actors. Caine's new role suits him and the more bitter heart to it saves him from having to convince with the flamboyant character (which is tough). Law is very good even though he really seems rushed at some points, which is the downside of the film being a lot shorter than the original film. He also struggles a bit with some of the stuff at the very end but this is the material and not his fault because otherwise he is very real and very engaging. Branagh's direction is clever but perhaps too deliberately cold and distant from the characters – fine at first but I would have liked it to heat up as the characters did.

Sleuth is a good film that is interesting and engaging. The problem is that it is tough to forget the shadow of the original film version, which is much better. One may watch it, like I did, out of interest to see what this version is like but the obvious problem is that we know all its secrets – even though there is more to the film than those, it does still take something away. For those that do not know the twists and turns of the plot then it will be a much more enjoyable film but, if you've never seen Sleuth, then I'm not sure why anyone would suggest you watch this one instead of the original.

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